Biotechnology is an advanced field within the world of biology that uses technology based on biology in order to enhance our ability to counter the ever-increasing challenges faced by the human race. It uses cellular and biomolecular processes in order to come up with products and technologies to enhance our lives, health and to secure planet earth from further decay being caused by human practices or otherwise.(Bio, 2018) The Biotechnology Innovation Organization subcategorizes the aims of biotechnology is three categories, namely;
1. Healing the world:
This area includes the practices of medical biotechnology, with the final aims to prolong life, enhance the quality of living and disease control.
2. Fueling the world:
This area of biotechnology aims to counter the fuel-crisis issue being faced by our planet. This is being done by providing alternate fuel options and by suggesting alternate practice to lower the consumption of fuel.
3. Feeding the world:
This area of biotechnology counters the bridge the ever-increasing gap between the rate of production and consumption of food. It is done by practices such as the production of high-yielding crops .etc.
This paper exclusively deals with medical biotechnology, which is the fusion of genetics, molecular biology and a number of other disciplines in biology to bring about advancements in medicine and health-science. There have been great advancements in the field of medical biotechnology due to the inculcation of new technique and practices such as PCR, cell cultures, recombinant DNA technology .etc.(Pham, 2018) As the world is looking up to medical biotechnology to improve the lives and health of individuals in the coming years, we embark on a journey to explore some of the upcoming medical advancements offered by medical biotechnology.
Some advancements being brought about in medical biotechnology have the ability to revolutionaries health-science in a manner we could have never imagined. Two such advancements in medical biotechnology that we will be exploring in this text include; the use of stem cells for regenerative medicine and the use of monoclonal anti-bodies for specific antibody-antigen response.
Stem cell therapy:
Stem cells are cells that have the ability to differentiate into any form of cells. A basic example of stem cells, are the embryonic stem cells that later differentiate into different types of cells in our body; including muscle cells, liver cells, skin cells .etc. However, our bodies also contain adult stem cells (such as those found in the bone marrow). These stem cells have a lower degree of differentiation as compared to embryonic stem cells but are crucially important for medical purposes. Stem cells are divided into four categories based on their capability to differentiate. These categories include; uni-potent, multipotent, pluripotent and totipotent. With embryonic stem cells being the only totipotent cells since they have the ability to differentiate into any form of cells. (Mahla, 2016)
Stem cell therapy is the use of these stem cells (which may be produced artificially: induced pluripotent cells) in order to cure or prevent diseases. This is referred to as regenerative medicine since it offers the ability to regenerate the lost tissues or organs in order to treat the condition when the body’s own regenerative mechanism is not enough to withstand the load of regeneration required.(Mahla, 2016)
The principle of stem cell therapy is the introduction of stem cells in the damaged / degraded region of the body under suitable conditions. These stem cells would gradually differentiate into the tissue / organ of interest under specified conditions.
Stem cell therapy has exhibited promising results in bone marrow transplant; in which damaged bone marrow cells are replaced with stem cells in order to regenerate the damaged region. Furthermore, positive results have also been shown in the use of stem cell therapy to treat patients suffering from heart and nerve tissue damage. In these cases, these stem cells regenerate to produce new heart muscle or nerve cells that function properly. Research is being done in order to use stem cell therapy to cure a variety of diseases and conditions. (Aiswarya N, 2014)
Due to the importance of these stem cells, millions of dollars are being spent on research around the globe in order to come up with new techniques to produce artificial stem cells that can be used in stem cell therapy and tissue engineering.
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To produce stem cells researches around the world are exploring the required conditions in order to convert somatic cells to stem cells that can then be used for stem cell therapy. An example is a research conducted by UNSW Sydney, which explores the conversion of somatic cells into multipotent stem cells that can regenerate any damaged human tissues. This research shows that specific treatment with PDGF-AB and 5-Azacytidine can convert somatic cells into multipotent stem cells that have the ability to cure all components of a damaged tissue unlike many other researches that discuss stem cells with much limited regeneration capabilities. (al, 2016)
Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to target specific foreign pathogens (anigens). The immune system is an elaborate system with the capability to fight against a wide variety of pathogens using these antibodies.